top of page
justice scale (1).jpg

NC Education Lawyer Blog

  • Writer's pictureNeubia Harris

At What Age Do IEPs Start?

If your child has developmental delays or a disability, you may want to know the minimum age for IEP eligibility.

Starting from age 3, your child can benefit from an IEP. You can write to the local administrator for preschool services for an evaluation.

The school district will evaluate your child, who must meet the criteria below to qualify for free special education.

  • Be aged 3 years and above

  • The evaluation shows a disability that fits into one of the 13 IDEA categories

  • The disability has an adverse effect on education, and your child needs special education to progress to kindergarten.

What if my child is under age 3?

Students must be aged 3 through 21 to qualify for an IEP. However, children under age 3 can also receive help through the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

While an IEP focuses on your child's educational development, an IFSP provides services that your family needs to help your child develop. These services, such as speech and language therapy and vision therapy, are usually provided in your home for free.

Is the IEP process different for preschoolers?

The IEP process, including the rules, timelines, and procedures, is the same for preschoolers and school-aged children. However, your child doesn't have to attend a full school day, with some services provided at home. The IEP team, which includes you, will determine the best services your child needs.

Whether your child is 3 or older, get started by requesting an evaluation. If you need the guidance and advice of a special education attorney to ensure you get the best support for your child, contact me, and let's have a chat.



bottom of page